Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is fuming over the latest development in the investigation into accusations the IRS targeted conservative political groups. Two years worth of emails from a key figure in the probe have vanished. Grassley, a Republican, compares the disappearance of all of that evidence to a child claiming a dog ate his homework. “I can’t believe it,” Grassley says. “Just the very period of time with the very single individual that we want information from that somehow that person’s email has disappeared.”
IRS officials say the emails sent and received by Lois Lerner, the former I-R-S official at the heart of the controversy, have been lost forever. The agency says all records of the emails from the last two years are gone, including computer hard drives that would have had back-up copies. The IRS says those drives have been recycled.
Grassley says he’s “very skeptical” of the claims. “I’m wondering if email can really disappear,” Grassley says. “I’ve heard on television both sides, ‘Yeah, I can’t get it,’ and other people say, like I believe, I can’t believe all of the records and email just disappear all at the same time.”
If congressional investigators can’t get the emails Lerner sent and received from -her- computer, he suggests they seek out emails from anyone she could have been communicating with during that time. Grassley says, “We might not find all two years of emails, but we might find enough that gives us some record of her involvement.” The IRS has already drawn harsh criticism from Republicans for reportedly giving the tax-exempt paperwork from conservative groups extra scrutiny.
The agency is accused of being especially harsh on the requests for tax-exempt status filed by any groups associated with the Tea Party.